Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Curried Duck Legs With Ginger and Rhubarb

I would never claim to be the most insightful guy out there when it comes to food, but some things I just know. I know, for instance, that at some point today I'm going to look across the street from my desk at the wine shack at Kiko's taco truck (that's the view from my desk at VINO at left) and think that a carnitas taco is going to make me incredibly happy. I also know that just one taco will not be enough. I also knew, as soon as I read it, that the curried duck leg recipe I saw in the NY Times recently was going to be money. How could it not be? Duck, which is good. A curry sauce, which I always love. And unusually flavored with rhubarb, which is all over the markets now. You don't need to be The Amazing Kreskin to know this was very promising.

The article in the NYT was written by Melissa Clark, where she was extolling the virtues of using rhubarb, and had three different recipes to prove its versatility. She was making a duck curry from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe, and brilliantly came up with the idea to use naturally acidic rhubarb in place of the called for vinegar. Talk about insightful! This was unbelievably delicious. She nailed it when she wrote "...the rhubarb melted into the sauce, thickening it and lending a deep and delightfully piquant flavor." I absolutely loved it, as did our friends Denise & Keith. Very easy to pull together, and if you can find duck legs she says you can also sub chicken legs (Clark says the sauce will be "slightly less rich"). Another 'wow" dish that I would make again in a heartbeat!
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Curried Duck Legs With Ginger and Rhubarb
from Melissa Clark
4 pounds whole duck legs, with thighs (about 8), or whole chicken legs (5 or 6)
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, diced (about 4 cups)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 4-inch-long piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 pound rhubarb, sliced 1/2 -inch thick (2 cups)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Chopped fresh cilantro or chives, for garnish.

1. Using kitchen shears, trim away all fat and skin that hangs from sides of duck legs, leaving only skin on top of meat. Toss duck legs with 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over high heat. Add as many duck pieces as fit easily. Brown on one side, about 7 minutes. Turn and brown other side. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat if necessary.

3. While duck browns, combine 1 cup onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, vinegar, cayenne, turmeric, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water in a blender, and process until smooth.

4. When duck is done, spoon out all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from skillet. Add remaining onions and a large pinch of salt. Sauté until soft, 5 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes.
the duck beginning its braise
5. Add coconut milk and 2 cups water, and bring to a simmer. Add rhubarb, brown sugar, duck legs and any juices that may have accumulated in bowl. Bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 1 hour, turning duck pieces halfway through. Uncover pan, turn duck again, and let simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

6. Spoon fat off sauce and serve duck or, better, chill duck overnight and degrease sauce before reheating all on a low flame. Serve garnished with cilantro or chives.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
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one year ago today @ E.D.T.: Bar Avignon opens in Portland. I rejoice! BTW-their one year anniversary party is June 28th!


Ravenous Couple said...

ooh the flavors of this dish sounds fantastic!

Anonymous said...

LOVE this!!! Made it tonight for my gourmet cooking group and we all loved it. aMAZING!!!